Love Stories

I have to confess that I haven't (yet) read Trent Dalton's bestselling novels Boy Swallows Universe or All Our Shimmering Skies, but I was intrigued by a book group discussion where one member passionately adored Love Stories, while another admitted that she couldn't finish it and found it 'a bit much.'

Weirdly, I agree with them both. I think if I'd sat down to read Love Stories in one hit, I might have found it a little too sentimental. But I interspersed it with a couple of other books and I absolutely loved it. 

During the pandemic, Trent Dalton set up a card table on a street corner in central Brisbane and asked passersby to tell him their stories about love, which he then beautifully wrote up into the chapters of this book and also sent copies to the story-tellers. Not all the stories are about romance; some are about the love for a city, a friendship, or a parent-child relationship. Not all the stories are about the story-tellers themselves: some are about their parents or friends. Not all the stories are happy; some are distressing and some are painful. But Dalton understands the transformative power of love and connection, and he manages to write about it in a way that doesn't become repetitive or cliched. Yes, it's warm and uplifting and hopeful, but as Dalton himself says, he was tired of being cynical and glib, and he's certainly right that after the stresses of lockdown, we are in the mood for being warmed and uplifted and injected with hope. At least I am! I'm very, very glad I read Love Stories.


  1. Like you, Kate, I haven't read any of Trent Dalton's fiction. And I like you, I was a bit wary of sentimentality. But I loved it. It was uplifting and sweet and funny and sad and hopeful and human. Hooray!

  2. It was like a lovely warm hug, I could feel it doing my soul good :)